By Lynne Adkins

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – September is National Pulmonary Fibrosis Awareness Month and officials want to get the word out on this debilitating disease.

Pulmonary fibrosis is scarring of the lungs according to Dr. Ross Summer, a pulmonologist at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. He says scarring can occur in several ways:

“Previous lung infections…certain drugs, it can occur in the settings of other diseases, connective tissue diseases or auto immune diseases can sometimes be associated with scarring of the lungs and then something called idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, meaning it occurs of unknown reasons.”

Symptoms can take place gradually and include shortness of breath, coughing and fatigue.

Dr. Summer says most patients must learn to live with the discomfort, because there are few treatments available.